DOH racing to validate 6,800 COVID-19 cases

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 01 2020 02:01 PM

Army Reservists, Marshall, and employees of the Philippine National Railways participate in the simulation of hygienic and physical distancing measures at the PNR Station Tutuban in Manila on May 29, 2020. Czar Dancel, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday said it was aiming to finish the validation of 6,800 positive coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests to come up with a more accurate picture of the outbreak.

“We have around 6,800 pa na kailangan pang i-validate natin na atin pong pagtatrabahuhan sa susunod na araw,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

(We have around 6,800 that we still need to validate and we will work on it in the coming days.)

DOH recently re-classified its new cases into “fresh cases” and “late cases” to show that the recent spike in COVID-19 cases was only due to delayed validation and not because of a continued spread of the disease. 

Last month, ABS-CBN News reported about the widening gap between people testing positive for COVID-19 in the Philippines. The DOH later explained that the Epidemiology Bureau had not been able to keep up with the release of test results due to the tedious process of validating.

DISHONEST?

The DOH also hit claims that it had not been honest about the Philippines' pandemic situation. 

“Ang kagawaran naging transparent from the very start with our data,” she said, adding that they have released raw data through the DOH data drop.

(The Department has been transparent from the very start with our data.)

She said the health sector is now using the digital application COVIDKaya that allows faster reporting of test results and cases.

Tricycle riders in Marikina City undergo mass testing using rapid test kits for COVID-19 on May 19, 2020 amid the modified enhanced community quarantine. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Philippines has 18,086 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Sunday but already logged 23,843 positive cases on Saturday. DOH said the discrepancy was due to cases that needed validation from the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau (EB).

Vergeire explained that they are carefully validating tests to ensure that they are not doubly recording cases. This means not all 23,000 cases will be recorded as confirmed cases since some might be repeat tests or erroneous entries.

“Out of the 42 laboratories we have right now only 27 laboratories provided us with their line list,” she said. The so-called line lists are needed by the EB to immediately validate cases.

Vergeire said the “fresh cases” they are reporting are people whose laboratory test results were released in the last 3 days while the so-called “late cases” are for those released more than 3 days ago and were not validated on time.

“So ang fresh cases po natin nanggagaling yan sa daily submission ng ating laboratories,” she said.

(So the fresh cases are from the daily submissions of our laboratories.)

She also explained that the DOH is facing two kinds of delays: the delay in validation and backlogs in lab tests.